Update October 2008! Been
wondering when your next issue of RF Design issue will be delivered?
The answer we can now confirm is never again!
The trade journal story
Millions of years ago in the
Mesozoic era, dinosaurs ruled the Earth. Some were small, some were
quite large, some ate plants and some ate meat. There was plenty
of food around, and although no one can say for sure, they were
probably quite happy creatures, at least according to Disney. One
of the messages in the 2000 Disney movie "Dinosaurs" is
that "sometimes the smallest thing can make the biggest
changes of all." How do you know this? The narrator states
it! Hey, this is a kid's movie, not Federico Fellini's Satyricon
(a "spectacular, neo-modernist construction that combines
both the pictographic art of the past with the angular sensibility
of the present"according
to one reviewer). But as usual, we digress...
Then something big happened 65
million years ago, and all of the "classic" dinosaurs
are gone. Some of the smaller dinosaurs that grew feathers changed
themselves into birds, and they are still here, crapping on your
car windows. The seminal event that killed off the dinos was probably
a meteorite that kicked up enough dirt to drive the planet into
a long winter.
Fast forward to the twentieth
century. Trade journals are all over the planet... The trade journal
model is to reveal some knowledge to the reader each month in exchange
for bombarding them with advertisements, because no one is going
to pay money for something that you can get for free. On the plus
side is that the format is handy for long bathroom trips. You have
trade journals for managers,
for marketeers, for human
resources, for manufacturing,
even for CFOs (perhaps information
on how not to get caught). There's a trade journal for people
who plan trade shows! Here's one just for pig
farmers and another for people that are in the business of landfilling
trash (such as thrown away trade journals). Did
you know that if you subscribe to enough trade journals, you could
heat your house by burning them?
If you're interested in the subject,
tradepub.com/ lists many
of the trade journals out there. Warning: don't subscribe to any
trade rags through this site, unless you want over 200 other trade
journals to get your personal information!
For trade journals, the "meteor
event" happened in the 1990s: the internet became the most
powerful knowledge tool on the planet. Suddenly, being in the paper
trade journal business just got a lot less profitable. So paper
trade journals grew "feathers" and have morphed into web
sites as well. The problem is, they still want to maximize advertising
profits so they can keep as many people on the payroll as possible,
and that means they are taking it out on you, the readers. They
need to collect personal information such as your phone number,
fax number and email addresses, and they milk these for all that
they're worth by renting their lists to each other. You get hosed
with spam and even worse, free subscription phone calls.
During the stock bubble of the
1990's there were new "web portals" and "zines"
that promised to change the way that the industry does business.
In reality, all they accomplished was burning up a cash pile of
investor money, while making knowledge accessibility even more annoying.
is one example that you might be familiar with if you work
in the microwave industry.
Some trade journal web sites
still don't even know what time it is. They think that you enjoy
registering to get tidbits of information, signing in each time
you use the site, and having to remember a password. Is using a
crummy search tool really the best way to manage the information
that was lost in previous "issues"?
At Microwaves101.com we have
a different goal for the Internet. We want to put all of the collective
knowledge of the microwave industry, for your use, just three clicks
away. We are doing this by creating a free encyclopedia that is
fully indexed and cross-referenced. We don't go out of our way to
collect personal information, and whatever we know, we wouldn't
share. Read our mission statement for
more information. Again, to quote the Disney company, sometimes
the smallest thing can make the biggest changes of all."
Over time, many of the microwave trade journals are starting to
look more and more like Microwaves101. Most of them have dropped
the requirement for users to register in order to access the material.
Ever wonder where they got that idea?
If you want to feel important,
when you sign up for a trade journal, list your job as "Vise
Presadent Of Procurment", or "Cheef Financail Offiser"
when you fill out the subscription form, tell them you influence
$10,000,000 worth of purchases each year. No one has ever served
time for inflating their ego when subscribing to a trade journal!
Always overcapitalize your title, and misspell a few words to make
your position more credible. An empty-suit
title will help out later when you are talking to one of the call
center girls that is gonna bug you each month, once they track down
your real phone number...
We also recommend that you don't
give them a real phone number or email address on the subscription
form, unless you like annoying phone calls from call centers in
India from people that want to approve you for a free subscription
to junk mags like "Connector Specifier".
Before we introduce you to the
microwave trade journals, here's an important rule
When subscribing to trade journals, always give them a fake email
address and phone number. Otherwise they will be bugging constantly!
Here's the Golden Rule of trade
journal subscriptions: never, ever give them the names of any coworkers
no matter how they try to pry this info from you. You wouldn't want
your buddies to do that to you, would you?
What do you do when you get calls
from Electronic Design News asking for a free subscription which
you don't want? First, if the caller is not of the opposite sex,
just hang up. But if you are a lonely engineer and the caller is
female, you should say stuff like "you sound hot, what are
you wearing?" Remind her that you are the Chief Financial Officer
if she is taken aback. Then tell her you have a call coming through
from Beijing, and couldn't she call back later on your cell, perhaps
to discuss her personal situation, and employment opportunities
as your administrative assistant. Last, give her a phone number
of one of your least favorite competitors. Don't worry, she can
take a joke, this stuff happens every day!
For a great account of how to
get rid of pesky telephone salespeople, check out this web
site! OK, you have to click the flag to translate it to English...
just keep repeating, 'we do not use... (insert product name)".
Below we list
all of the microwave trade journals, rated from top to bottom according
to our opinion of them. We provide links to their web sites, in
some cases you can subscribe to paper magazines if you want. We'd
probably save a forest full of trees if everyone just read them
on line. It's going to be a long time before paper trade journals
are entirely replaced with web sites, at least until we have high-speed
Internet access in every bathroom stall at work...
& RF We recently moved this trade journal to the top of our list,
because of an experience where editor Nancy Friedrich exceeded our
Looks a lot like this graph from
Microwaves101's VSWR page, doesn't it?
Update February 19, 2008:
National Instruments contacted this web site and stated that the
two look-alike graphs are a mere coincidence. All a big misunderstanding!
OK, here's the Perry Mason moment. Our graph had two major mistakes
in it, and so did the National Instruments graph. The transmitted
wave voltage amplitude is wrong for a couple of reasons which we'll
explain shortly, it should NOT be 0.7 volts like it is in both
graphs. Is it all a coincidence that a NI author used the same
wavenumber, the same incident voltage amplitude, didn't use vertical
grid lines, used the same reflection coefficient (pick a random
number between 0 and 1 and both authors came up with exactly 0.3)
and made the same stupid mistakes? What's the chances of
Below is a corrected graph. You'll
probably see a similar correction to the MW&RF article in the
near future, we reckon.
Anyhoo, when we pointed out the
similarities (and lack of attribution to Microwaves101) to Nancy
she was very apologetic, even though there's no way she could have
known that one of her contributors might have used our material.
our "complaint" two months later, and added an attribution
to the article on the Microwaves and RF web site. Kudos to Nancy,
you're so nice it makes us feel rotten for even pointing out this
little problem! The National Instruments rebuttal will appear in
an upcoming MW&RF issue, but we don't plan to respond to their
response of our response to their article. Nuff said!
Update March 2008! We
reworked the spreadsheet that created this graph into something
we're proud of, the math is now correct, and we added a slider bar
so you can animate time. Check it out on our new page on visualizing
VSWR. We're more than happy to help out with free tools like
this, we offer the spreadsheet that created this graph as a free
download. Just give us a little credit when you take a shortcut.
Now back to our
description of MW&RF... this is one of two trade journals (Microwave
Journal is the other) that has survived since the beginnings of
Microwave History (in their 46th? year). As a microwave engineer,
you need to subscribe to the paper version of both of these, and
at least flip through them once a month during lunch. MW&RF
does NOT require you to register personal information in order to
peruse the material on their web site, the way all trade web journal
web sites should be. Technical Director Jack Browne knows as much
about the black art of microwave engineering as anyone on the planet,
plus he's a great writer.
published by Penton which owns many other trade rags. Which is a
problem for you because once they capture your phone number and
email address, someone from India will be calling to offer you a
free subscription to other "Planet
EE" crapola such as Electronic Design, EE Product News
and other crummy Penton mags once a month, plus your email will
get spammed almost every day. See "countermeasures"
2. T. Hyltin, IMS 2008 Session,
TH1E “History of MIC/MMIC Inventions,” http://www.mtt-tpms.org/cgi-bin/symposia_v4/sessiondisplay.cgi?Symposium_Name=IMS2008&sessiontodisplayid=TH1E&pointofcontact3;
If you look closely, Microwaves101
is reference 3, but the "3" is missing. This is how it
appeared in the printed magazine, which is merely a printer's mistake.
We pointed it out nine months ago, yet the MW Journal web article
was never fixed. This should take less than five minutes to correct,
While we're on the subject of
this article, MW Journal offers "recommended
reading" on the topic. Here you will find the IEEE articles
that Vye references. Very handy, except this is in violation of
copyright policy. Look at the corner of the articles and you
will see the price that IEEE would charge you for them... if MW
Journal hadn't put free bootleg copies on the web, free for all!
In March 2010, a Microwave Journal
article about Setting
Strategies for Planar Divider/Combiner by Leo G. Maloratsky
used an image of a monopulse comparator network that looks very
familiar. Here is the image in the MW Journal article:
Funny how the exact nomenclature
is used, and the rat-races are all oriented the same way in both
figures. What's the chances of that? Simply shameless.
If you want
to access their web site you have to set up a user email address
with a password. Maybe it's worth it, but we think all microwave
web sites should be free of this nonsense.
So we'll pass on the offer, which is good for a lifetime of spam!
here to learn what the Unknown Editor thinks of the Microwave
Journal credit card offer!
This magazine puts forth a good effort. Editorial director Gary
Breed is a one-man encyclopedia of microwave knowledge, we'd like
to offer him a job at Microwaves101, but he's gotta be able to feed
his family, so we won't. HFE recently finished an awesome feature
on power amplifier technology, co-authored by a whole congress of
microwave gurus, and you can download it on their web site last
we checked. Gary printed some kind words about Microwaves101 in
a recent HFE web site review, for which we say "thanks!",
even though Microwaves101.com was spelled wrong.
HFE puts their
paper journal on line in a pdf file that is an exact replica, ads
and all. No account setup
or password is required to access articles last time we checked.
Design Update October 2008. Because of the recent (2006) merger
of Penton and Prism publishing houses, a group of investors found
themselves with two microwave/RF trade journals. RF Design
and Microwaves and RF became step brothers.
Hey, I never asked you,
do you like guacamole?
After the usual
round of merger-induced layoffs, one of the titles had to go.
Congratulations on keeping the better of the two.
In case you were
wondering, the printed supplement to RF Design, Military
Electronics also bit the dust, so you will no longer have
to tear open a plastic bag each month in order to place ME in
a suitable recycle bin. But wait! Defense Electronics (the
print version) may be dead but it will be re-launched as a digital
publication in January 2009. Essentially, Penton is taking the
current Military Electronics digital publication and revamping
it with a new (or old depending on your point of view) title (Defense
Electronics). Jack Browne will be the technical director.
If you're confused by the history behind Defense Electronics
and Military Electronics, you are probably not alone. Send
us a note if you can clue us all in! How about straightening
us out, Jack?
RFTechnology International RFTechnology is a new effort, brought out be the same company that publishes High Frequency Electronics.
This journal started December 2002, and was dead and buried sometime
in 2004. It was a cousin to Electronic Design, perhaps the most
annoying trade rag of all time. How many call centers in Hyderabad
India are solely employed by ED to pester engineers about subscribing
to this dull magazine? We don't know, however, the acronym "ED"
has such a negative connotation that we'd probably change the name
if we were in charge.
Product Digest This journal is 99% ads, with a "product features"
sometimes disguised as technical articles, plus an editorial page.
Keep in mind you can learn
a lot about the industry by reading advertisements, especially if
your job involves buying stuff rather than designing stuff. These
fools keep changing the URL for their web site, so we apologize
in advance if their link is broken.
If you are involved in MMICs
or RFICs, consider expanding your knowledge of the subject by subscribing
to a semiconductor magazine.
Semiconductor Today is a British effort, at this point they are
the best semiconductor trade magazine of all, with no competition
now that Compound Semi is asking for users to register. We've met
editors Mark Telford and Darren Cummings, they are both great guys
and they totally "get it" about providing easy access
to their articles on line. The web site is well organized and the
use of big fonts makes it easy to read. They
offer a paper subscription as well.
These people don't get it. This used to be a good site, but recently
they have required users to register. That's a dealbreaker for us,
and it should be for you too. Once they see how much readership
drops they'll drop this requirement!
Cooling Electronics Cooling is an independent trade journal (as
opposed to most of the above being part of Horizon House or Penton
Publications). If your career is in electronics, at some point you'll
have to learn about cooling, so why not subscribe to this free journal?
Tell "Doctor Jim" that the Unknown Editor sent you his